Neck circumference as a novel parameter to determine metabolic risk factors in obese children

Eur J Clin Invest. 2012 Jun;42(6):623-30. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2362.2011.02627.x. Epub 2011 Nov 30.


Background: To establish the association between neck circumference and cardiometabolic risk factors and to determine the utility of the neck circumference as a parameter in predicting children at cardiometabolic risk.

Materials and methods: Five - hundred and eighty-one children (461: overweight/obese, 120: normal body mass index) aged between 5 and 18 years were enrolled. Neck circumference, waist circumference, blood pressure and fasting plasma glucose, insulin, total cholesterol, triglyceride and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol were recorded, and the homeostasis model assessment for insulin resistance score was calculated.

Results: Neck circumference was negatively correlated with HDL cholesterol and positively correlated with all other parameters, with the exception of fasting plasma glucose in pubertal boys and girls and total cholesterol in pubertal girls. Linear regression analysis by designating neck circumference as a dependent variable revealed that insulin and TG levels in prepubertal boys and blood pressure and TG levels in pubertal boys were positively correlated with neck circumference. We found that diastolic blood pressure and insulin were positively correlated, while HDL levels were negatively correlated with neck circumference in prepubertal girls. Systolic blood pressure and insulin were positively correlated with neck circumference in pubertal girls. The cut-off value for neck circumference, as an indicator for metabolic syndrome (MS), was calculated as 36 cm in boys and 35 cm in girls.

Conclusions: Neck circumference measurement was shown to be associated with cardiometabolic risk factors in children. We suggest the use of neck circumference as a novel, simple, practical and reliable anthropometric index in predicting children at risk for cardiometabolic diseases.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Body Weights and Measures
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology
  • Linear Models
  • Lipoproteins, HDL / metabolism
  • Male
  • Metabolic Diseases / etiology*
  • Neck / physiology*
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Risk Factors
  • Waist Circumference / physiology


  • Blood Glucose
  • Lipoproteins, HDL